The topic of the psychological effects of violence is an intriguing topic with much potential, particularly when addressed by a professor of psychology who is also a career military officer, but ultimately that potential is what made On Killing so disappointing.
With verbatim repetitions throughout, it more resembles a collection of essays than a book. The most serious issue though, is the presence of speculative and sweeping assertions, such as the claim that, what is hubristically described as a previously undiscovered aspect of psychology (revulsion to killing), may have been responsible for the election outcomes of wartime Presidents forced to go to the polls immediately after the end of hostilities. To the author's credit he does acknowledge that last assertion might be extending his work too far.
It is clear when evidence is offered, such as frequent references to B.F Skinner's (at best) obsolete work, that Grossman didn't do his homework. Most troubling, however, is the study on which Grossman rests his thesis; S.L.A Marshall's survey of World War II soldiers claiming to show only 25% will fire at an exposed enemy. The soldiers supposedly interviewed later denied ever being asked about their firing rates, a fact which has been known to military psychologists for over twenty years. It would be interesting to buy the physical copy of this book to see the bibliography.
The number and severity of basic errors costs makes the reader wonder if the author knows what he is talking about, and that's a shame given the enormous potential and relevance of this topic. On a positive note, the narration was good.
This book helps me to understand general and family history which I am studying. It contains ideas essential for the decisions being made by society.
A must listen to/read book. Fantastic perspective and insight into our current culture, the effects of combat on an individual, and the effects of glamorising violence and killing in movies, tv, and media.
Great content and insightful analysis of something that must be understood at a personal level if we are to change the fate of our species.
All respect to the author and narrator, Dave Grossman, there are times when he's challenging to understand, especially in the early pages as my ears adjusted to his voice.
Has to be one of the best books I've ever listened too. I had a hard time getting through the written version but it was much easier to listen too. Very informant and eye opening to the struggles of Vietnam Vets as well as the nature of killing a fellow man.
The first time i saw him speak in person i was in awe. He understood the strategic global environment in a way I will never forget because i had been waiting years to hear someone say the words he so eloquently said. I immediately purchased his books and reread them when I hear the type of hyperbolic rhetoric that pervades our airwaves about war, patriotism, and what it means to be American. On Killing goes beyond the the lessons of On Combat to expose the realities I hope few of us ever have to experience first hand. I am but a mere USAFA grad, but I feel this book can provide valuable insights to all citizens and I highly recommend it.
as a United States Marine combat veteran with two deployments and now a police officer of seven and a half years I highly recommend this book not only to people with histories like mine but all people as Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman says we are killing Our Youth and our society but we have the knowledge and power to reverse this and I promise to do my part Robert Wallace former United States Marine current police officer with the Flagstaff Arizona Police Department.
The perspectives and information in the majority of this book were fascinating and creatively examined, and intricately supported with factual data and historical accounts. However, the last thirty minutes were generally mired in conjecture and unsubstantiated reports of data correlation which the author assembled in such a way as to suggest, and say outright, that the freedoms on which the United States were founded (particularly the first and second amendments) should be limited for the greater good, for the children, and because humans have no more ability than animals in overcoming "programming", whether through rational thought or moral character.
Hike and Paddle Guide
This book shows how the military overcomes the natural instinct of killing in the battlefield and how violence and life taking impacts Military Veterans. After serving in the US Military, I found it a powerful review of the impact of killing and its downstream impact on Military Veterans and Society.